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Glanzlichter der Buchkunst 24: Utrecht Psalter
Price: € 98,00   Standing order price: € 85,00
Date: 2016     ISBN: 978-3-201-02012-1

Commentary in German and English

The Psalter as a basic work of monastic choral song has steadily gained in importance from the 6th century.
The Utrecht Psalter is one of the finest manuscripts of this period and probably the most unusual Psalter of the Middle Ages. It was written out and painted between 820 and 840 in the Benedictine abbey of Hautvillers near Rheims, on the initiative of Ebbo, archbishop of Rheims and a foster brother of Emperor Louis the Pious. This sumptuous illuminated work of the Carolingian period is the earliest surviving example of an illustrated Psalter in Western book production.

All 150 psalms are illustrated with magnificent pen drawings covering the whole width of a page and densely populated with tiny figures hurriedly sketched with a few strokes. These vigorously painted figures are frequently imbedded in faintly sketched landscapes and display a vibrant liveliness. In accordance with the beauty of the text, they are executed in unprecedented perfection. The creative power of the artist has led many renowned art historians to place the master of these pages on equal footing with the great artists of the western world, like Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt or Vincent van Gogh.
In addition to the extraordinary expressive power of the drawings, we are impressed with the artist’s continuous effort to follow the text as closely as possible and marvel at the sheer wealth of symbolism in his illustrations.

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